15-19.12.2015. Second Belgrade NATO Week held

Belgrade, December 15-19, 2014

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On Friday, December 19, 2014, the second Belgrade NATO Week was successfully completed, within the project bearing the same title, organized by the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies in Belgrade (CEAS), with the support of the NATO Public Diplomacy Division and the Rockefeller Broters Fund.

Following an intense application process, acceptance and review of applications, candidates for the project were chosen, mainly already acting party officials, from youth wings of all parliamentary and some non-parliamentary parties in Serbia: SPS, SNS, DS, SDPS, LDP, URS, DSS NS, SPO and Enough (Dosta je bilo). The idea of this program is to have young, formally politically engaged citizens of Serbia multiply the knowledge and skills which they will acquire through participation in our program, for which we hope will become regular and perennial, in their respective parties, the local community and the media. Our aim is to equip them to be the bearers of responsible information-sharing in the Serbian public on topics which can, later, help citizens in independent political decision-making based on relevant information. This of course refers to the issue of what NATO is and how it operates, but does not stop there, as the topics spread further into considering the challenges that NATO is faced with within the organization itself as well as in its regional and global environment, what is happening with the EU Common Security and Defense Policy, what are its transformative capabilities in terms of security sector reform, what is the dynamic of relations between NATO and EU CSDP, what sort of debates are being led in NATO and EU Member States on the missions in which these two organizations take or do not take part in, the future of these organizations, what are the institutional relations of NATO with other global organizations such as the UN, regional organizations such as OSCE, and supranational ones such as the EU, with specific countries such as Russia and China, what are NATO’s strategic goals, how are these realized, what is happening with the enlargement policy and the like. Within the program, 20 young experts, members of political party youth branches in Serbia were provided with a series of lectures, visits to relevant institutions and workshops over a one-week period, related to the mentioned topics.

The second Belgrade NATO Week opening ceremony was held on December 15, 2014, in the form of a round table and panel debate, open to the public, held at the Aeroklub in Belgrade.

The panelists included:
- Jelena Milić, Director, Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies
- Cherrie Daniels, Political Counselor at the Embassy of the United States of America
- Milovan Milošević, Executive Director, Atlantic Council, Serbia
- PhD Savo Kentera, President, Atlantic Council, Montenegro
- Sead Turčalo, team member, Atlantic Initiative, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Marijana Toma, Deputy Executive Director, Humanitarian Law Center
- Staša Zajović, Director, Women in Black

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The topics covered by the debate included: The importance of IPAP for continued reforms in the security sector in Serbia, the experiences of NATO member states in the process of accession in the context of security sector reforms, the significance of contemporary regional cooperation in the context of new global challenges such as ISIL, the importance of transitional justice mechanisms for regional stability and democratization, with particular emphasis on the importance of credible information on the numbers of civilian and military casualties during the conflicts in the nineties and the NATO bombing of Serbia.  

The round table and panel debate was attended by representatives of the diplomatic core, state institutions, political parties, civil society and participants of the second Belgrade NATO Week.

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The second part, open only to the young participants of the program began on Tuesday, December 16, 2014, with lectures held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Lectures were held by Dijana Ivančić, Head of the Department for NATO and PfP in the Defense Policy Sector of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, on the concept of IPAP and PfP and conclusions from the Wales Sumit; Branimir Filipović, Head of the Department for CSDP and security challenges in the Defense Policy Sector of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia on the EU Common Security and Defense Policy and participation of members of the Serbian Armed Forces in EU missions; and Major Dušan Mrdak, as a representative of the Ministry of Defense from the Directorate for International Military Cooperation at the Defense Policy Sector, on Serbia-NATO military cooperation and the Defense Reform Group.
 
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Over the second part of the day, participants attended a lecture and workshop held by Vladimir Barović, Assistant at the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad, coordinator on the project „Strenghtening debating skills and promoting democratic values among the youth“, on media reporting in emergency and crisis situations.

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On Wednseday, December 17, participants visited the Atlantic Council, where Milovan Milošević, the Executive Director presented them with the work and goals of the Atlantic Council in Serbia.

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The same day, participants had a chance to meet and receive lectures by Dragan Šormaz, Serbian Progressive Party MP and member of the National Assembly permanent delegation to NATO Parliamentary Assembly,

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and Dragan Šutanovac, Democratic Party MP and former Minister of Defense and Vesna Marjanović, also Democratic Party MP, at the National Parliament of the Republic of Serbia.

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The MPs presented to the participants the levels and forms of cooperation with NATO from the apsects of their jurisdiction(s). Plenty of time was left for questions of participants, which mainly focused on their doubts regarding the relationship between Serbia and NATO.
Following the visit to the National Parliament, Igor Novaković, Research Fellow at the ISAC Fund, gave a lecture on Serbia’s military neutrality, current global challenges and the importance of regional security integration for overcoming them.

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On Thursday, December 18, the fourth day of the program was opened by Jelena Milić, CEAS Director, who presented the participants with the joint CEAS-DPC Policy Study „The Missing Link - Security Sector Reform, 'Military Neutrality' and EU integration in Serbia“ and her analysis „10x in favor NATO“, published in July this year.
 
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Ratko Femić, journalist of the Novi Magazin, held a lecture on the topic of Serbia and NATO – what lies ahead and where Serbia is today. 
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A representative of the US Embassy in Belgrade, Colonel Corey Shea, also spoke of Serbia-NATO cooperation.

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Representatives of the NATO Military Liaision Office: Tijana Andric, Lt. Col. Igor Tabulov Truta, Lt. Col. Anton Klopčić and Colonel Athanasios Pagkalos, held a presentation on the Office’s mission, goals and future plans.

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On the final, fifth day, of the second Belgrade NATO Week, on December 19, as the last activity of the program, participants had a mutual debate, splitting into three groups – in favor of military neutrality, in favor of joining NATO and in favor of joining the Collective Security Treaty Organization and approximation to Russia. Members of each groups were chosen at random on the first day of the program. The aim of this workshop was to have the participants present the relevant information they have obtained during the second Belgrade NATO Week.

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The Belgrade NATO Week was closed with a certificate award ceremony, for successful participation and taking part in the second Belgrade NATO Week.

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We thank all participants of the second Belgrade NATO Week and look forward to continued cooperation. We thank the NATO Public Diplomacy Division and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for financial support, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense and colleagues from the National Parliament of Serbia. Visits to tthese institutions and the lectures received there were a mostly new, valuable experience for participants. We especially thank colleagues from partner organizations who responsed to our invitation received in a relatively limited timeframe and held lectures for the participants from angles that do not occur very often in this sort of NGO and think-tank programs – accurately, uncompromising and argumentative.